The Equiprobability Bias in the Monty Hall Dilemma: A Comparison of Primary School, Secondary School, and University Students

Lore SaenenKU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Mieke HeyvaertKU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Ilke GrosemansKU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Wim Van DoorenKU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Patrick OnghenaKU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Abstract

The Monty Hall dilemma (MHD) is a notorious brain teaser that received a lot of attention because both novices and statistical experts fail to reason correctly when solving this problem. In the current paper, we try to shed more light on the previous MHD research findings by discussing them in relationship to the equiprobability bias, which is known to develop with age and statistical education. Besides investigating behavioral performances on the MHD, the experiment described in this paper focuses on the level of understanding of the problem and how the latter can be improved. The results show that by increasing the number of alternatives in the MHD, both behavioral performance and understanding of the problem improved. However, full understanding of the MHD was only reached by some participants, and depended on participants’ age and the number of choice alternatives in the MHD.

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